Timothy P. Murphy, for appellant.
R. Lowry, for respondent.
order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed. The
conclusion that the warrantless entry by police into
defendant's home was justified by exigent circumstances
is a mixed question of law and fact. Where, as here, there is
support in the record for the Appellate Division's
conclusion, the issue is beyond our further review (see
People v Gibson, 24 N.Y.3d 1125, 1126 ; People
v Brown, 95 N.Y.2d 942, 943 ; People v
Hallman, 92 N.Y.2d 840, 842 ). "The rule
applies 'where the facts are disputed... or where
reasonable minds may differ as to the inference to be drawn
[from the established facts]'" (People v
Harrison, 57 N.Y.2d 470, 477 , quoting People
v McRay, 51 N.Y.2d 594, 601 ). The dissent's
conclusion to the contrary is based on a narrative derived
from the suppression hearing record that unduly emphasizes
the testimony and resulting inferences that are favorable to
remaining contention is without merit.
RIVERA, J. (dissenting):
matter of law, there is no record evidence to support the
trial court's ruling that exigent circumstances justified
the warrantless entry into defendant's home
. Therefore, the Appellate Division
should be reversed and a new trial ordered. I dissent.
was charged with one count of robbery in the first degree for
stealing a few dollars from a donation jar inside a
convenience store located near the University of Buffalo
campus. According to the testimony at the hearing on
defendant's suppression motion, 15 to 20 officers from
the Buffalo Police Department, Niagara Frontier Transit
Authority, and the University of Buffalo security force
responded after a store employee made a 911 call to report
that a robbery had just occurred. Based on images from the
in-store surveillance video and statements from two employees
who interacted with the robber, the officers developed a
description of a white male in his 50s, who was armed with a
small knife and was wearing a coat, gloves, and a scarf.
store manager also told the officers that she had chased the
robber across the street and through an alleyway before she
lost track of him. Several officers fanned out and conducted
a search of the area, but did not locate the robber.
back at the store, two people told one of the officers that
earlier in the day they had seen someone who fit the
description of the robber sitting on the stoop of a building
across the street from the store. Buffalo Police Officer
Mayhook then went to that building and spoke with a man, who
told him that the person sitting on the stoop had recently
moved into a rear apartment in the building.
on this information, several officers surrounded the
building. As they approached, they noticed a door on one side
of the rear apartment and two closed windows on the other.
The lights were on inside, and they could look directly
through the windows at defendant, who they observed alone and
lying in bed watching television. They described the
apartment as very small, approximately 500 square feet in
size, and so compact that one officer could see a pair of
gloves on the kitchen table that looked like the gloves worn
by the robber.
officers knocked on the door and window for approximately ten
minutes, yelling for defendant to "show your hands and
come out." Defendant made eye contact with the officers
peering in his window, then rolled over and closed his eyes.
One officer said that from his view it appeared defendant was
in a "stupor." Upon authorization from Officer
Mayhook, several officers forced open the door, pulled
defendant out of bed, and handcuffed him. Once inside, the
officers seized a black knit hat, gloves, three small knives
from the kitchen counter, and a scarf and jacket.
Mayhook testified that he was at the door, but did not
personally witness the defendant's actions or look inside
the apartment prior to giving the order to enter. He based
his decision to enter without a warrant on the other
officers' observations of defendant as relayed to him,
which he testified consisted of defendant matching the
robber's description, as well as the fact that the
officers were unaware if defendant was alone, if defendant
could access other parts of the building, or if there were
other weapons in the apartment. Officer Mayhook further
testified that when he gave the order he knew the officers
were armed and had surrounded the building, and that
defendant was not threatening anyone.
court partially denied defendant's suppression motion,
concluding that exigent circumstances justified the
warrantless entry and that items in plain view were properly
seized. However, the court granted the motion as to the
jacket and scarf, finding ...